EVEN amid the depths of serious injury and inconsistency, Moises Henriques did not lose hope that a Test call-up was within the realm of possibility.
''I never ever thought it had passed me by,'' he said after being named in Australia's XI for the first Test against India on Friday. ''I always felt in the back of my mind if I could just stay on the park long enough the rest could take care of itself.''
Henriques, 26, will make his debut as Australia's all-rounder as part of a line-up that will contrast strongly with the hosts. India is tipped to pick three or perhaps even four spinners on the clay-like M. A. Chidambaram Stadium deck; Michael Clarke's team have named three genuine fast bowlers - Peter Siddle, Mitchell Starc and James Pattinson - as well as a fourth seamer in Henriques.
Once feted as the next big thing, Henriques made his one-day international debut for Australia in 2009, but then faded from prominence. There were a series of injuries - a shoulder reconstruction and ankle and groin surgery, as well as a muscle tear here and there - and subsequent fluctuations in form.
But a career-best 161 not out for NSW in the Sheffield Shield against Tasmania at Bankstown Oval in September caught the attention of selectors and less than five months later he is about to be presented with a baggy green cap.
''I knew I had to keep training hard and working hard, I never once doubted it,'' Henriques said. ''In those couple of years I didn't deserve to be in the mix, but I knew if I could get fit that I wasn't far away.
''I think in the past I have shown some glimpses but my form now has been more consistent with the bat and ball. There has been a lot of injuries and in amongst that there has been some inconsistent form as well. The one thing you lose first is your match touch, but being able to stay on the park the last six months has helped some consistency come into my game.''
Australia's team was announced ''subject to change at the coin toss''.
Henriques was preferred ahead of Glenn Maxwell as Australia's all-rounder with his ability to extract reverse swing seen as key. He claimed 4-12 in the tour match against an Indian Board President's XI here - all were top order wickets - and has been included among a line-up that favours pace over spin, with Nathan Lyon the only specialist slow bowler. Clarke and Warner will be required for part-time jobs.
Australia: Ed Cowan, David Warner, Phil Hughes, Shane Watson, Michael Clarke (c), Matthew Wade, Moises Henriques, James Pattinson, Mitchell Starc, Peter Siddle, Nathan Lyon. 12th man: Glenn Maxwell.